Let’s stop Maliki: ‘Dijla’ cannot climb ‘Hamreen’

By Kamal Chomani: KURDISTAN TRIBUNE  –  14.11.2012 – Dijla Operations Command is nothing but a step by quasi-Ba’athist Premier Nouri Al-Maliki’s to totally control Kirkuk and the other Kurdish areas which have not yet been incorporated into Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) territory, following the former dictatorship’s atrocities designed to change the demography of these areas.

It is time to tell Maliki: Stop!

We, as critical Kurdish journalists, never stop criticizing the current situation in Kurdistan but, when a danger knocks on the door of our national interests, we are all unanimous to face it at any cost.

When the conflicts started between PM Maliki and KRG President Masoud Barzani, few people were on Barzani’s side inside Kurdistan because those conflicts were not in Kurdistan’s national interests. They were more or less provoked by Turkey and Sunni factions in Iraq. And Barzani did not have the support of Kurdish people, the media and opposition parties – which was the reason that he couldn’t defeat Al-Maliki. Not to mention that even Talabani wasn’t happy with that initiative. In the last three weeks there have been some new developments. Nawsherwan Mustafa, the Change Movement leader visited Kirkuk and announced his Movement’s support for Najmaldin Karim, Kirkuk’s Governor. This visit was in the midst of the recent developments. Nawsherwan Mustafa realized how much Kirkuk is in danger if the Dijla Command succeeds whereas he didn’t support Barzani in withdrawing confidence from Maliki. President Jalal Talabani – after he was betrayed by Maliki since he couldn’t commit to his promises to Talabani to dissolve the Dijla Operations Command – is now back in Slemanni. According to Daily Hawlati, he may not go back to Baghdad unless the Dijla dispute is resolved. Azad Jundiyani, the PUK’s spokesperson, expressed his party’s anger towards Maliki. The Islamic Group and Islamic Union, the other two opposition parties, have already shown their opposition to Maliki’s Dijla intentions. Following these positive reactions, President Masoud Barzani declared his anxiety with the Dijla Command Operations. In a statement yesterday Barzani said that the formation of the Dijla Operations Command “will lead to more instability,” and “The intentions, the aims, the formation, and the actions of this Command are against the Kurdish people, the political process, co-existence and the process of normalizing the situation in the disputed areas.”

At the end of the statement, he underscored that “after consultation with the Iraqi President and other concerned parties, we will make our position clear and take appropriate steps against this unconstitutional action.”

It is not yet clear which parties – apart from the PUK and Jalal Talabani – Barzani meant, but he is moving in the right direction. If Barzani has already consulted with the Kurdish parliament and the opposition parties, then it is time to altogether put an end to Al-Maliki’s dictatorial ambitions which he has not concealed since he came to power for a second term.

Interestingly, Weekly Awene reported that Kurdistan Peshmarga forces have already started forming a special force, “Hamreen Operations Command”, in response to the “Dijla Operations Command”. Here Maliki is leading Iraq to an ethnic escalation between Kurds and Arabs. If he wants to invigorate his clout within Arab nationalist entities by collaborating with former Ba’athist military generals like Dijla chief Abu Zaydi, Kurds will also announce a nationalistic force under the name of a mountain which is the border between Arab and Kurd areas in Iraq. Certainly, if we are united, Dijla will never climb on Hamreen!

Democrat Arabs in Iraq should speak out against Al-Maliki. Iraqi people need stability and peace. They are immensely in need of coexistence. It is absurd that there are still some Arabs who do not accept a Kurdish status within a Federal Iraq. We never want violence. All the people of Iraq – Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Christians etc. – have been victim of the consequences of wars sparked by Iraq’s political leaders. But Kurds have sacrificed thousands of people for their land, and they can never accept living in Iraq without Kirkuk.

It is time for Kurds to wake up to be united in Iraq. Maliki has exploited the differences between Talabani and Barzani on the one hand, and the public’s disagreement with the ruling KDP and PUK on the other. We should open our eyes and see the situation. Still our Peshmerge forces are not united. It’s a big shame on the ruling Kurdish parties that the KRG still doesn’t have a Peshmerge force and instead there are separate KDP and PUK security and Peshmerge forces. All in all, we all should be united to put an end to Maliki’s dictatorial ambitions. Meantime, we should not forget to make radical reforms. I am afraid that the two ruling parties may use Maliki’s dictatorial initiatives as a kind of excuse to delay these reforms. The Kurdish leadership should know that delaying reforms is our crucial point of weakness.